We asked and you answered.
The holiday season invokes memories that can really take you back.
And as we said we would, we’re sharing some of your favorite holiday recollections.
Picture time | 2020
“All of our grandchildren at my daughter and son-in-law’s home,” wrote Robert Jester of Winchester. “We sat their presents in front of them and would not allow them to be opened until they posed for the photo.”
Robert was there with his wife, Sylvia at the home in Corona, and called the children’s reaction memorable.
“The excitement they had when we said ‘Open your presents,’ it was wild,” he wrote.
Pre-Christmas travel | 2013
“It was a fabulous pre-Christmas trip to Zion National Park with my son,” Ontario resident Christina Frausto wrote. “Fabulous because it was during the 16-day shut down of our national parks due to funding cuts. Free entry (no one to staff the place), zero crowds, so very quiet, we practically had the entire park to ourselves. Thank goodness nature never shuts down.”
This was “a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit a national park with no crowds,” Christina wrote, and she is happy to have been able to enjoy that time with her son.
Music memories | 2005
“It was Christmas Eve and I was sitting at my piano practicing the Christmas carols I would be playing at midnight during our 55-year tradition of laying baby Jesus in the manger,” Corona resident Rita Jackson wrote. “I was just about to play ‘White Christmas,’ which was my grandma’s (Nanie, as she was lovingly called by all her grandchildren) favorite Christmas song. While playing the introduction I had no idea that what was about to happen would be a memory I would carry with me for the rest of my life.”
“Although I have heard this song many times before, when my daughter and cousin began singing, the sound of their voices were so harmonious (almost angelic),” Jackson wrote, “it took me back to when I was a little girl. I closed my eyes for a moment and I was back at my Nanie’s house, surrounded by all of my family, laughing, smiling and singing. I wanted that moment to last forever so as soon as that song ended, I started playing, ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ and was given another special memory.”
“My uncle (whom I called Nino, as he was also my godfather) who was sitting silently in a rocking chair in a corner of the room, started singing,” Jackson recalled. “Even though my Nino was well into his 80s, he still had a beautiful voice. It was so magical to be playing Christmas songs on my piano and listening to those beautiful voices that I hadn’t noticed the music and singing had drawn the rest of the family into the room but when the song was over, it became obvious by the complete silence that this special moment had touched everyone’s heart. I’ll cherish that beautiful memory forever, as it was the last Christmas Eve my uncle was able to spend with the whole family.”
Santa’s perfect suit| 2013
“For the past 20 years, we have traveled with our dogs to the central coast in December,” wrote Riverside’s Leslie Nagby. “We visit the small towns and enjoy their Christmas parades, tree lighting ceremonies and town square Christmas carolers. In 2013, we had a new puppy named Skylar. My bright idea was to have a photo op with Skylar and Santa.
“Santa DID NOT want Skylar on his lap,” Nagby wrote, as he didn’t want dog hair on his suit.
“So, for the first time in at least 50 years, I sat on Santa’s lap and Skylar sat on mine. PICTURE PERFECT!”
The next year and every year since, Nagby wrote, “it was a new Santa and he loves having Skylar on his lap. And this became our Santa and Skylar tradition.”
Best. Gift. Ever. | 2002
“On Dec. 23, 20 years ago, we received a call telling us that organs were available for my daughter’s kidney/pancreas transplant,” Yucaipa resident Jo Sutt wrote.
“My first reaction was sheer joy at the prospect of a ‘new life’ for my girl, who had been so miserable, and so close to death for 11 years,” Sutt wrote. “That sense of joy was immediately followed by deep feelings of grief and sympathy for the family” experiencing the loss of someone they loved.
“Finally, my whole being was flooded with gratitude,” Sutt wrote. “Best Christmas and best Christmas gift. EVER!”
Cherished present | 1948
Fontana resident Dolores Higgins was born in 1939 and had no brothers or sisters.
“I recall it was a time when provisions were low and luxuries were nil,” she wrote. “But many shared the same experiences, so I really didn’t know we were less fortunate.”
Her family moved to Fontana in 1948, when she was 9.
Daily meals consisted of oatmeal for breakfast, a bowl of beans for lunch and “for supper (a bowl of beans BUT also cornbread!” That was what “we had every single day,” Higgins wrote. “There were no snacks in between.”
They never considered themselves poor, but felt fortunate to have a place to sleep and three meals a day, she wrote.
“During most Christmas times I was thrilled to receive one gift, Higgins said. “Our holidays were happy times, mainly because I had a mother and father who loved me and we appreciated all we had.”
That first Christmas in Fontana was a “very special time for me,” Higgins wrote. “It still is today (at age 83). That Christmas, I had THREE gifts to open. What a privilege that was.”
The first gift was a box of pink rubber ‘split’ curlers, or Ruby Lane doll curlers.
“Back then, they were for little girls; not dolls,” Higgins wrote.
The gift came from Aunt Mae, her father’s sister, who worked in a factory where the curlers were made. The second gift was a dark blue Biblical book on The Story of David, from Aunt Leota, her mother’s sister.
“My most cherished gift of all was my Trudy doll,” Higgins wrote. “Even though this was 74 years ago, I remember opening my gifts; especially my Trudy doll.”
She was in a shoebox asleep, Higgins wrote.
“I recall saying to my mother, ‘I love her, but … she will always be sleeping.’ When I didn’t notice, my mother turned a knob on the top of Trudy’s head and suddenly, she was awake! Then, my mother turned the knob once more and she was crying.”
Higgins still cherishes the doll today and, 74 years later, Higgins remembers it as the year she received three Christmas gifts.
“But, most of all, I’ll remember it as the Christmas I got my Trudy doll.”
Letter from Santa | 1957
“One December day in 1957, a note appeared at our door, addressed to ‘House, Children,’” Riverside resident Carolyn Greywood wrote.
Her memory is from growing up “in our tiny town of Murrieta in the ’50s and ’60s.”
The note, she wrote, “was from Santa, saying he would be coming to our home early and we might hear his reindeer on the roof. We were so curious as to what he might be bringing.”
The note was signed “Santa Rudolph Claus,” and “with some sleuthing, and guessing, more by my two older siblings,” she wrote, “we surmised that it might be a television. (Nearly every other family in Murrieta already had one.)”
The siblings used clues from the note.
“The reindeer on the roof hint related to the installation of an antenna. Santa Rudolph Claus’ initials hinted at Sears Roebuck Co, where we catalog ordered EVERYTHING! Further evidence we observed were creases in the catalog pages of the TV section.”
They “impatiently” waited, Greywood wrote, and soon after “we were thrilled when the UPS truck driver arrived, bringing us a brand new television! Our dad was clever and creative!”
Two babies start new years | 1994
“In 1993, I had two babies,” Chino resident Teresa Garnica wrote.
Brian was born Jan. 17, 1993 and Ally — whose full name is Alysia — was born Dec. 17,1993.
The family was featured in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin on Jan. 1, 1994, alongside an article about the first baby born that year.
“Brian and Ally both attended Cal State L.A,” Garnica wrote, “Brian is married; Ally is in her last year of graduate school at CSULA. What a memory of New Year’s Day in 1994.”